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Galt Mile Reading Center Reopens November 9

I am thrilled to advise the Galt Ocean Mile Reading Center will reopen on Monday, November 9th!  During the closure due to COVID 19, our libraries and facilities teams worked diligently on the previously planned renovation of the Reading Center.  I have seen photos of the finished project and I am hopeful the patrons will be happy with their new Reading Center. At this time computer usage is not available but please be assured Library staff is working to have the computers available in the near future.

Many thanks to our Library and Facilities staff for their hard work on this renovation project. And, to our patrons, thank you for your patience!   Happy Reading!  A list of all library events can be found by clicking here.

Lamar Fisher, Broward County Commissioner, District 4

For more information on location, hours calendar of events and classes, and Friends of the Galt Mile Reading Center, please click here.

A special thanks goes to Theresa Claire, a member of the Galt Mile Community Association Advisory Board, for her volunteer hours and dedicated work toward getting our Galt Mile Reading Center renovation completed.  She used her voice to push our elected representatives to get the project started and completed.  We thank her for shepherding this project from inception until completion, and keeping the GMCA updated and informed every step of the way.


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Federal Beach Project Will Impact the Galt

The Segment II Shore Protection Project is located within central Broward County and contains the municipalities of Pompano Beach, Sea Ranch Lakes, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, and Fort Lauderdale.  The project area has undergone three sand placement events in 1970, 1983, and 2016.

Currently, planning is underway for a Flood Control and Coastal Emergency (FCCE) project in Segment II.  The project is expected to go to construction in Winter 2020, under 100% federal cost participation. These projects will replace losses from Hurricane Irma and rebuild the beaches to their full design template, above and below the water line, where feasible. Construction may begin in February 2021-March 2021. Alternatively, the contractor may decide to begin and complete the project in one phase from November 2021-March 2022. The schedule will be confirmed in January after the contract is awarded by the US Army Corps of Engineers. They are keeping the turtle nesting season in mind.

In a conference call with Broward county, this is the latest on the project:

  1. 100% Federal funding
  2. The sand that they will be putting down will look like the sand that is at the beaches now, but the color may change a little over time.
  3. They got permission at all areas that will be closed for construction.
  4. They will always have crews onsite to direct people
  5. Usually it only takes a few days to place sand along most properties.
  6. They will be putting in a new reef while they do this.
  7. They have made it clear that no building will be impacted by the big/loud machinery.
  8. Entry locations for bringing sand to the beach: NE 30th Street, NE 27th Street, NE 25th Street, NE 18th Street and SR A1A and Sunrise Blvd

 

The last 2016 Segment II Shore Protection Project was constructed between January and December 2016. Due to sea turtle nesting season, no construction activities or sand placement occurred from May 1 to October 31. The project included sand placement along two reaches of shoreline. The northern reach, located along southern Pompano Beach and northern Lauderdale-By-The-Sea was approximately 5,150 feet in length, and the southern reach located along southern Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and northern/central Fort Lauderdale (including the Galt Mile) was approximately 21, 050 feet in length. Overall, 710,300 cubic yards of sand was placed within the project area from an upland sand mine. The most recent project accounted for sea level rise within its design, and this volume was included within the total amount of fill placed. Depending upon location along the shoreline, the restored beach added between 75 to 125 additional feet of beach. Additionally, over 1.5 miles of new dune habitat was created by the project. Overall, total project costs related to sand placement only were approximately $36 million.


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Coronavirus Mandates

(Executive Orders and Mandates updated through November 3, 2020)

There are several additional resources for Fort Lauderdale citizens when it comes to helping them deal with the Coronavirus.  Additionally, click here to see all the executive orders and mandates affecting our residents.

Free drive-thru swab testing for COVID-19 – Holiday Park:  Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Free Drive-thru Rapid Antigen Test – Holiday Park:  Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Free Drive-thru Testing – Mills Pond Park:  Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Free walk-up COVID-19 testing – Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Mobile at-home COVID-19 testing – Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – Noon, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Drive-Thru Food Distribution Event  – Every Thursday from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Fit Fort Lauderdale Virtual Classes – Sundays from 1 – 2 p.m.

Fort Lauderdale’s Virtual Recreation Center – Virtual classes in art, cooking, line dancing, acrylic painting, yoga, Zumba, and more

Over the past few months, our perception of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) evolved from an unsettling rumor into a worldwide survival campaign. While researchers struggle to develop a cure or a vaccine, containment measures are being implemented across the planet. State, County and City administrations are enacting CDC preventive guidelines that sharply limit the opportunity for casual human contact, and deter the overlap of our respective “three to six-foot breathing zones” (as per the World Health Organization), thereby limiting exposure to potentially infected airborne droplets expelled by coughing, spitting or sneezing. Other emergency measures facilitate medical care, required or voluntary quarantine, economic relief, stay-at-home socialization alternatives, access to food, pharmaceuticals and essential supplies and services.

Governor Ron DeSantis

Specifically, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is issuing Executive Orders. Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry is releasing countywide Emergency Declarations and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis is mandating municipal Emergency regulations. Galt Mile co-ops and condominiums are also crafting association-specific rules that regulate contact among residents, employees, visitors and vendors along with access to resources. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR), which enforces Statutory provisions applicable to cooperative, condominium and homeowner associations, is issuing emergency orders that postpone regulatory deadlines for association boards, enable alternative governance protocols, and empower the naming of stand-ins to exercise the responsibilities of out-of-residence association officials.

Public officials serving local communities, such as the Galt Mile, are distributing constituent updates about these regulations and how they impact residents and businesses. A steady stream of newsletters and COVID-19 messages are being sent to Galt Mile residents and merchants by District 93 Statehouse Representative Chip LaMarca, District 4 Broward Commissioner Lamar Fisher and District 1 Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Heather Moraitis. Since the content in these State, County and City emergency regulations is often overheard while passing from person to person, it is subject to the mischaracterizations and distortions of pool talk, muddying the facts for many local residents. To help dispel needless concerns about skewed information, and clarify how these official mandates change our lives, links to each order or declaration (including recovery measures) are segregated by jurisdiction and listed in an attached document.

PHASING IN COVID-19 RECOVERY

On April 19, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the creation of a Re-Open Florida Task Force to carefully revive specific economic and social interactions – hopefully without triggering the need for a second statewide COVID-19 shut down. On April 30, the Task Force released its Final Report, defining a multi-phase approach to reopening jurisdictions based on infection rates, testing capabilities, the burden on local medical services and other CDC criteria.

State and local officials are faced with a terrible choice – a possible spike in the death toll from relaxed containment OR increasing poverty, unemployment and economic deterioration. Like the popular deli TooJay’s, many local merchants have filed for bankruptcy, leaving thousands unemployed. Officials must cautiously relax restrictions since inadvertently boosting the infection rate could extend the pandemic.

Excluding Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties due to their higher late April infection rate statistics, DeSantis approved Phase 1 for Florida’s 64 other counties on May 4, allowing masked customers observing social distancing guidelines to enter restaurants and retail shops, but only at 25% capacity and if dining tables at outdoor venues were separated by at least 6 feet.

OPENING SOUTH FLORIDA COUNTIES

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis

Still in Phase 0, on April 29, 2020, Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry issued Emergency Order 20-08, conditionally re-opening certain non-essential amenities in Broward County subject to CDC protective guidelines (social distancing, facial coverings, etc.). The order applies to certain parks, natural areas, boat ramps, marinas, golf courses and common area pool facilities serving multi-family homes – such as condominiums. Later that day, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis followed suit, specifying which of the amenities named by Henry would initially be re-opened in the City.

Although still barred by the State from re-opening any beaches, the Broward order was prompted by improving medical statistics deemed relevant by the CDC (i.e. the rate of new infections dropped below 10%, declining impact on area hospitals, etc.) Henry’s order identifies those exempt from the facial covering requirement (Section 7), including children under the age of two, persons who otherwise have difficulty breathing, food service employees (when wearing a mask could pose a hazard), first responders whose personal protective equipment (PPE) is determined by their respective agencies, and those raising a religious objection.

Having crafted an incremental list of stringent safety measures, the Galt Mile Community Association (GMCA) relentlessly pressured State, County and City officials to safely re-open the neighborhood’s private beach. Hastening local recovery would require strict adherence to CDC containment protocols in beachfront associations. With the exception of a few self-absorbed morons, the Galt Mile community has been a model of compliance.

GMCA President Pio Ieraci

At a May 4 GMCA ZOOM video conference, District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis, District 4 County Commissioner Lamar Fisher and Statehouse Representative Chip LaMarca reviewed methodologies with officials from member associations to facilitate beach access and secure Phase 1 status in South Florida.

On May 8, although newly released Broward Emergency Order 20-09 still restricted beach access, the Governor announced that Palm Beach County could move into Phase 1 on May 11 (Executive Order 2020-120), and the Palm Beach County Commission voted to open their beaches on May 18. Citing the positive COVID-19 trending in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, DeSantis said “Our target for them, we’d like to see them move into Phase 1 on May 18.”

In daily contact, County Commissioner Lamar Fisher continually updated GMCA President Pio Ieraci about his struggle to include a specific date for beach access in the next Broward Emergency Order, which would either reflect or possibly expedite the Governor’s anticipated May 18 Phase 1 approval in Broward. We’d soon be able to walk on the beach, shop in stores, eat in a restaurant or finally get a haircut. When DeSantis signed Executive Order #2020-122 on May 14, approving Phase 1 in Broward on May 18, the County immediately issued Emergency Order 20-10, enabling the limited re-opening of restaurants, retail shops, personal services, gyms, salons, movie theaters, community rooms and recreational amenities in multifamily housing developments (condos and co-ops), museums, public community pools, private club pools, and other services and amenities.

At a discrete May 14 meeting, a group of mayors and commissioners from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties explored impending Phase 1 impacts. Officials representing the three South Florida counties had previously agreed to re-open simultaneously to bar the prospect of customers in restricted counties flocking to merchants in a neighboring county that re-opened earlier. When Palm Beach County officials engineered a Gubernatorial approval of Phase 1 on May 11, a week before Miami-Dade and Broward would earn Phase 1 status on May 18, they trashed that agreement, and provided Palm Beach merchants with a week-long clear field to usurp revenues that would ordinarily support businesses in Broward and Miami-Dade. Officials at the meeting observed how this inequitable disparity further burdened businesses desperately struggling to survive the COVID-19 shutdown.

To offset the fact that neither Broward nor Miami-Dade had met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s nationwide criteria for a Phase 1 reopening on May 18 (two weeks of declining deaths and new cases), officials at the meeting agreed to increase COVID-19 testing and continue the strict enforcement of CDC requirements for facial coverings, disinfection, and social distancing. In addressing beach access, officials feared that if crowds drawn by Memorial Day weekend sales and events (May 23 – May 25) also packed newly opened beaches, the infection rate could explode. As such, Broward officials decided to delay re-opening the beaches until after the holiday weekend – on May 26.

BEACHES REOPEN MAY 26

To diminish the prospect of a second lockdown by ensuring compliance with CDC safety protocols, Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry issued Emergency Order 20-12 on May 21, specifying strict enforcement of Phase 1 limitations on each re-opened venue. Under pressure to round out Phase 1, Henry released Emergency Order 20-13 on May 22, which finally sanctioned the May 26 re-opening of Broward beaches, along with Commercial Gyms and Fitness Centers, Hotels, Motels and other Commercial Lodging Establishments.

Beginning on May 26, Broward beaches will be open from sunrise to sunset for swimming, surfing, walking, running, biking, kayaking, paddle boarding and body surfing. While barred from using umbrellas, canopies, chairs, loungers, or coolers, beachgoers are also prohibited from picnicking, playing sports, sunbathing, sitting, lying down or gathering in a group of more than 10 people. Except for members of the same household or group, people must be separated by a minimum of six feet (6’). After flooding our beaches, thousands of visitors from Miami-Dade, where the beaches weren’t approved for re-opening until June 1 – will likely compete for sharply limited restaurant seating.

Given the 50% maximum occupancy restriction on nonessential retail venues, merchants desperate to salvage their livelihoods must decide if revenues from a truncated customer base will cover the cost of fully staffed Restaurants and Retail shops. Some vendors will keep their doors closed until Phase 2 relief improves prospects for a sustainable cost/benefit while others will justify financing initial shortfalls to expedite a return to solvency.

In short, since the City and County recovery plans grossly compromised CDC protective guidelines in order to restart the economy, Broward residents seeking to avoid a second containment order – or simply survive the pandemic – are facing a series of judgement calls about whether destination sites are survivable or prelude to a dirt nap. If cutting the unemployment rate doesn’t significantly increase the Medical Examiner’s workload, we’re out of the woods. If it does, we could once again confront the mysteries of Grubhub, FaceTime, ZOOM Video Conferencing and a long-term home-bound lockdown.

WHITE HOUSE VS. CDC

On April 17, the White House released an “Opening Up America Again” plan that cherry-picked elements of the CDC recovery requirements, but with a major caveat. The Administration faults the Governor of any State in which the plan fails. On April 30, a far more elaborate CDC plan called “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework” was shelved by the White House, as its detailed guidance threatened to impede a speedy recovery.

For instance, a huge number of the 2 million positive COVID-19 cases and 113,000 deaths in the US by June 11 were corollary to non-essential travel. The CDC report states, “Travel patterns within and between jurisdictions will impact efforts to reduce community transmission. Coordination across state and local jurisdictions is critical — especially between jurisdictions with different mitigation needs.”

Although unrestricted travel poses a significant threat to pandemic containment, the White House plan lifts the ban on non-essential travel in Phase 2 – which was approved in Florida on June 3 (excluding Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties), while the CDC plan requires a decreasing number of new cases for 42 days before approving casual travel.

Despite initially requiring jurisdictions to delay reopening plans until the number of new cases – or infection rates – declined for 14 days and medical facilities were no longer overwhelmed, once the White House shifted reopening responsibilities to state and local officials, those mandates devolved into nonbinding suggestions. As a result, case counts and positive test rates are increasing in more than half the states approved for reopening.

Having relieved state and local officials of compliance requirements with the White House plan, President Trump is pressuring Governors to reopen their respective economies without exploding the pandemic. To balance the White House economic objective with sufficient safeguards to dodge a far more disastrous second lockdown, the CDC would have to detail guidelines for the patchwork of reopening plans underway across the country.

Asserting that the CDC’s 63-page missive was too prescriptive, Administration officials concluded that applying its complex schedule of protections would delay the recovery. They attacked the CDC for crafting detailed recovery measures for each type of business and social venue. While the CDC plan would curb local resurgences of COVID-19 across the country, on May 13, Senator Mike Braun (R – Indiana) blocked a Senate resolution to release the CDC plan, stating “The Guide would bog down the economy.”

On May 20, the administration approved a greatly generalized CDC revision entitled “CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again”, which provides State and local officials with the option to implement the CDC guidance or ad lib their way through this nightmare.

Fortunately, Broward is among the few Florida counties that pushed back when pressured to jump on Phase 1 and Phase 2 integration protocols. Instead, Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry issued a series of Emergency Orders that implemented CDC monitoring and mitigation measures specific to each of the newly reopened businesses and social venues. This should help the County quickly address any spike in new cases, given the increased exposure inherent in an economic reopening driven by guesswork and politics.

Of course, given that research into this virus is still in its infancy, largely experimental recovery measures have fueled a passionate nationwide controversy. Officials at every level of government are walking on eggshells since the only bulletproof defense against a second containment shut down would be a vaccine or a cure, projected for some time next year – and the first 150 million doses will go to first responders worldwide – so don’t hold your breath. Click here for the executive orders and emergency declarations (updated regularly as issued) from the state, county and local government.   

 


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NE 33rd Street Stormwater Pipe Repair

The City of Fort Lauderdale will be repairing a stormwater pipe in the westbound lane of NE 33rd Street between NE 32nd Avenue and NE 33rd Avenue.  Work is expected to begin on Tuesday, October 27 and will be completed on Friday, November 6.  This schedule is subject to change based on inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Click here for more information

 


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Galt Mile Beach Renourishment

As previously reported, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to start construction of a post-Hurricane Irma repair project in Pompano Beach, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, and Fort Lauderdale. The project is estimated to place approximately 387,800 cubic yards of upland sand along the shoreline, with 100% cost share by the federal government. Temporary beach construction access point closures will be necessary and public access will be restricted on the beach area directly under construction; however, all efforts will be made to accommodate beach access to residents and guests, while assuring safe construction operations.

Broward County is hosting a public outreach meeting is scheduled for October 30, 2020, from 11AM to 12PM via online webinar. Questions can be emailed to Resilience@Broward.org and you can register to attend this virtual workshop by clicking below or visiting www.Broward.org/BeachRenourishment.

REGISTER TODAY!

 

 


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Fort Lauderdale Adopts Stormwater Fees

The Fort Lauderdale city commission on September 14 adopted the new methodology for assessing stormwater charges along with the rates for acreage and trips used per property.  See previous article with details about the stormwater issue and new structures.

Earlier, the city commission adopted the new stormwater structure that includes 1) shifting the costs of stormwater from the water and sewer utility bill to the property owner (or in the case of an association – from the association’s bill to the individual unit owners) and, 2) charging a fee for association unit owners that is based on the association’s acreage and daily trips per unit.

The details for association owners can be found on the TRIM notices sent out in August by the property appraiser’s office.  The notices detail the two components of the stormwater fee, and are listed as a non-ad valorem assessment that will appear on each year’s tax bill.

Details about the city commission meeting can be found on the city’s website – just click on “action details” to see a summary of the debate and final action on this issue.


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New Fort Lauderdale Stormwater Rates: What You Need To Know

SEPTEMBER 15, 2020 UPDATE – LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR NEW STORMWATER RATES

The TRIM notices recently sent out show, for condos, two charges for stormwater:  acreage and trip charges.  The trip charge is $18.65 for each condo unit.  The acreage charge depends on the percentage of square feet in the unit.

Look Up Stormwater Information for your condo:  Visit bit.ly/stormh2o and enter a property address into the GIS database to view the proposed stormwater assessment.  For condos, enter street address (no city) and unit number like this:  3900 galt ocean dr #2115

Fort Lauderdale has enacted a new procedure for who pays for stormwater as well as new rates.  The good news is that condominium and cooperative associations will no longer have a monthly charge for stormwater management fees.  The bad news is individual unit owners will see this charge on their annual tax bill – which is due in November 2020.

The City Commission approved the new billing methodology at two regular commission meetings on June 2 and June 16, 2020 and will vote on the 2021 rates on September 14.  The rates quoted in this article are the ones proposed by the consultant.

The new Stormwater Utility fee methodology for associations incorporates both acreage (total land square footage) and trip generation rates.  An individual unit owner’s stormwater yearly bill will be determined using these two components.

  1. Acreage: association’s land acreage, and,
  2. Trip Charge: estimated number of trips generated per day for each unit (based on a trip methodology developed by the Institute of Transportation Engineers).  These trips are then assigned a cost per trip.

Together, these two components constitute the yearly stormwater charge for individual unit owners that will appear on their annual tax bill.  The plan is the two components share the costs at an 80:20 ratio. This is true for all property types. 

BACKGROUND

Currently, Fort Lauderdale residents pay a monthly stormwater fee through their utility bills.  Every utility bill has a line that identifies stormwater fees and is assessed as follows:

  • Single Family Home (3 or less units): $14/month ($168 yearly)
  • Multifamily Dwelling (4 units or more): $141.12 per acre/month ($1,693.44/acre yearly)
  • Unimproved Land: $44.73 per acre/month ($536.76/acre yearly)

These fees generate revenues used by the city to protect against water runoff that can accumulate in streets, on property, underpasses, and overflow seawalls.  The city Public Works Department oversees the stormwater operations and repairs/replacements to the systems used to drain the stormwater. Operations, maintenance, repair and replacement capital projects cost approximately $15.5 million per year and are funded through the stormwater fees charged to utility customers.

The city is experiencing serious stormwater issues in most areas of Fort Lauderdale.  The city commission has identified seven areas of greatest need.  In order to provide the capital for these seven projects, the city needs to raise $200 million in FY 2021.  The city commission approved a study of the stormwater fees by Stantec (the same firm that did the Water and Sewer Rate Study).  Stantec reported back its findings to the city commission in a May 25, 2020 final report.

The goal is to ensure the Stormwater Utility has the resources needed to invest in and maintain the stormwater system that protects the City. The seven identified priority areas are:  Edgewood • River Oak • Dorsey Riverbend • Durrs Area • Progresso • Victoria Park • Southeast Isles.  According to the City Commission, the challenge was to the find a fair system to finance the needed $200 million stormwater capital improvements, without shifting the burden to one group over another group within the city.

STORMWATER SYSTEM

The Stormwater Operations program was developed to provide a dedicated operational focus to maintaining and improving the City of Fort Lauderdale’s stormwater infrastructure. The adoption of these fees and new fee structure are necessary to allow a special assessment to be imposed by the City to fund the capital costs to construct, reconstruct, repair, improve, and extend Stormwater Management Systems within the City of Fort Lauderdale.  Stormwater is a multi-jurisdictional operation, but the City operates, repairs, and maintains much of the stormwater infrastructure within City limits, including:

  • 183.5 miles of stormwater pipe
  • 1,151 manholes
  • 1,038 outfalls
  • 6 drainage wells
  • 8,848 catch basins

                  

BILLING CHANGES

Currently, the stormwater charge is part of the utility bill received monthly by the association.  It is the bill for water, wastewater, irrigation, sanitation (not applicable to associations) and stormwater.  The cost is paid by the individual or organization named on the utility account.  In the case of an association, the bill comes to the association and is paid by the association since they do not have individual meters for each unit.

That will change on October 1, 2020.  The new stormwater charges will appear on the individual’s annual tax bill as a non-ad valorem assessment.  The annual Fire-Rescue fee is an example of a non-ad valorem assessment.

NEW STORMWATER RATES

The City Commission will vote on the new stormwater rates on September 14, 2020 at a special meeting.  The proposed rates for single family homes will be a fixed, yearly charge of $258.26.

For condominium and cooperative individual owners, the charge will consist of two components:  Acreage and Trip Charge.

A unit owner’s yearly stormwater assessment will be calculated as follow, using the above two components.

  1. ACREAGE: Individual’s unit living area DIVIDED by total of all units’ living area (excluding common areas) to arrive at a percentage of ownership.  This percentage will then be multiplied TIMES parcel charge ($2,273.01/acre).
  2. TRIP CHARGE: 4.45 average annual daily trips generated from each condo unit X $4.19 per trip = $18.65 yearly (Trip rate is the average daily trips during a weekday from Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), Trip Generation, 10th ed, 2017.)

Example: If the unit owner’s living area is 1,000 sq ft and the total living area of all units in the building is 100,000 sq ft – then 1,000 divided by 100,000 = 1% (unit owner’s share). If the association’s land acreage is 2 acres – then multiply 2 times $2,273.01/acre = $4,546.02 (total acreage charge).  This amount is then multiplied by the individual owner’s share of 1% (.01 x $4,546.02) = $45.46.   Combining the two:  $45.46 (acreage) + $18.65 (trip charge) = $64.11 – annual fee for stormwater on an individual’s tax bill for 2021.

These two added together will be an individual unit owner’s yearly stormwater bill. Each year, the city commission will set the acreage and trip charge – and will have to recalculate each association unit owner’s assessment.

There are similar fee structures for churches, businesses, commercial establishments, and others.  Currently, the renters or lessees of property pay the stormwater charge as part of the water and sewer utility bill (not in an association).  This new ordinance will shift that cost to the property owner’s tax bill.

The city’s website will have a GIS mapping system that shows each property in Fort Lauderdale and that property owner’s stormwater assessment. This is expected to be available by August.   

CONCLUSIONS

A one-page summary of this article is attached – and can be downloaded for distribution to owners to educate them on the new stormwater assessment they will see on this year’s tax bill and all future tax bills.    

The Galt Mile Community Association (GMCA) met with and provided city commissioners, the mayor and staff background materials on this issue, making strong arguments that association individual owners should not bear an unfair share of the costs of the $200 million capital improvement projects and yearly maintenance.  While single family owners’ fees are increasing 54% – association fees (total of all individuals in the building) are increasing a greater percentage.

GMCA also made the argument that while having roadways free of water and always being passable would benefit property owners, it was pointed out that many others would greatly benefit, but not pay any of the costs.  These include vendors and contractors living outside of Fort Lauderdale, commuters, visitors, and delivery companies (FedEx, UPS, Amazon).

Unfortunately, the city has no way to tax or assess these users of our roadways for stormwater maintenance and improvements if they don’t own property in the city.  GMCA will continue to monitor this assessment to ensure associations are treated fairly and not over burdened by disproportionate costs.

 


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Broward Commissioner Lamar Fisher’s May 2020 Newsletter

In his May 2020 Newsletter, District 4 Broward County Commissioner Lamar Fisher thanks constituents for “staying at home” and adhering to the terms in other COVID-19 Broward emergency orders, recognizes essential workers and volunteers for keeping the community afloat prior to the County’s May 18 kickoff of Phase 1, and suggests that hurricane season preparations include subscribing to notifications from ALERT!BROWARD.

Along with allocations to offset general COVID-19 containment costs, the County coughed up funding assistance for the homeless, for non-profit cultural organizations and $2.3 million for Broward Supervisor of Elections Peter Antonacci to shield voters from the pandemic in the 2020 primary and general elections. He relocated 12 at-risk polling sites, budgeted postage sufficient for sending vote-by-mail ballots to roughly 65% of the electorate for the next two years and acquired new equipment to print and process the ballots.

Fisher laments how the failure of many Broward residents to complete the 2020 Census input will hammer the County’s eligibility for State and Federal funding, threatening a decade of regular shortfalls typically billed to Broward taxpayers. The census data also determines Broward’s share of Federal representation (Congress) during the next decade.

The Stay Local Campaign

Destination DC (DDC) is the official marketing organization for the nation’s capital. Last November, DDC launched a consumer advertising campaign named “Stay Local DC”, which used deep discounts to draw DC residents into local shops and restaurants, and book staycations in Washington, DC hotels. It worked like a charm.

When officials began relieving mass containment restrictions first triggered by the pandemic after January, residents concerned by reopening plans that blew off CDC recovery prerequisites in order to salvage the economy suddenly realized that restaurant profits rated a higher priority than the lives of their families. The Stay Local enticements were used to cajole residents still leery about exposure into the marketplace. Proven effective, the marketing concept spread to jurisdictions across the country – including Broward County.

Fisher closes by endorsing the Stay Local Campaign as a vehicle for reviving the local economy. Marketing muscle ordinarily used by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau to attract visitors world-wide to South Florida destination sites was refocused on local residents who spent months bouncing off the walls of their homes while fending off a claustrophobic stupor. It combines the fear of traveling during a pandemic with a cash flow transfusion to struggling local businesse

Click here to read Commissioner Lamar Fisher’s May 2020 Newsletter.

 

 


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City Commissioner Heather Moraitis’ May 2020 Newsletter

In her May 2020 Newsletter, District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis empathizes with our mid-May frustration with home-bound pandemic containment. Recognizing the difficulty of slowing the spread of COVID-19 in one of the State’s most heavily infected regions, Moraitis extols the collective efforts of State, County and City officials to quickly implement a unilateral lock-down, sharpen medical response capabilities and fast-track regional testing outreach.

While also applauding thousands of District 1 constituents for swallowing hard and complying with an exasperating set of evolving restrictions, Moraitis declares that the time has come to jump-start the stalled economy by “safely and smartly venturing out when appropriate,” admonishing “Please continue to follow guidelines.”

Presumably, Moraitis alludes to City or County guidelines, since no jurisdiction in South Florida is remotely compliant with recovery prerequisites specified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the White House Task Force. At the end of the day – each of us must balance this agenda with the wellbeing of our families.

Click here to read Commissioner Moraitis’ May Newsletter

 


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Update and City Resources Available on COVID-19

City Commissioner Heather Moraitis provided the following update from the City of Fort Lauderdale on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We appreciate the leadership, time and effort Commissioner Moraitis has put into helping guide our city during this unique health crisis. She has been fabulous in her communications to residents and Facebook posts, keeping us as up to date as possible, given how quickly events are changing in the city, county, state and federal government. The City of Fort Lauderdale has numerous emergency regulations in place regarding operations and services, buildings and facilities, openings and closures, public meetings, events, public gatherings, and promoting social distancing in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the healthcare system is not overwhelmed. To see the latest updates on current regulations, please visit www.fortlauderdale.gov/coronavirus.

We also appreciate the leadership and commitment being made by County Commissioner Lamar Fisher and State Representative Chip LaMarca, both of whom have done an excellent job of communicating updated information to all of us.

Additional links to Centers for Disease Control, Department of Business and Professional Regulations, and Broward County Sheriff about actions on Coronavirus can be found on the Regency Tower website.